Necessary People, by Anna Pitoniak, is, among other things, about the dynamics of female friendship. But it’s the toxic type of female friendship, the type you definitely want to stay away from. Violet is not wealthy but she’s ambitious, and when she meets Stella, who seems to have it all, she is drawn into a shiny new world of wealth and opportunity. Soon, Violet must make a choice. Does she become someone she doesn’t like or even recognize, in order to achieve Stella’s level of glamor and success?
Both Violet and Stella are three-dimensional characters. When they meet in college, Stella is careless yet dynamic, the type of person who makes others in her orbit feel special. Violet is steady and willing to clean up Stella’s messes. Stella realizes what a good friend Violet is, and invites her to spend summers in the Hamptons, and eventually to share a luxury apartment in the city, giving Violet access to high society. But Stella’s generosity only goes so far. She grows jealous of Violet’s career in cable news, and uses her beauty and charm to steal away a huge opportunity from Violet. After that, the two women can’t decide if they love or hate each other.
Violet especially grows as a character, but part of that growth is the realization of her own limits. And when Stella pushes too far, Violet goes to a very dark place. That’s all I say.
I loved the dark academia/shift to wealthy NYC/world of cable news. I loved how the story was told from Violet’s POV. She makes a lot of bad choices, but as someone who grew up caring for her alcoholic mother, is it any wonder she enters into another co-dependent relationship? Even as Violet does things that we tell ourselves we’d never do, part of us might ask, what if?
I didn’t want Necessary People to end, so I am so excited to start Pitoniak’s new book, Our American Friend. I will report back with a review of that one soon!
If you like psychological suspense and female drama, then you should read this book!